Mi Watch: a new beginning
Xiaomi eventually released its first watch product, the Xiaomi Mi Watch. Thanks to the Mi Band series, Xiaomi has dominated the market share of smart wearables. But the Mi Band is more targeting at the budget market. Though it has a great shipping volume of the whole market, it’s not able to help Xiaomi build up a good reputation in the market and cover different market segments. As Xiaomi calls, the market positioning of the Mi Watch is a ‘small phone on your wrist’. So Mi Watch probably is considered as a new beginning to practice Xiaomi’s ambition in Xiaomi ecological chain.
Let’s start with the design. Well, it’s not new to us. And I think it’s hard for Xiaomi to deny the design imitation here. Xiaomi has suffered quite a dispute with plagiarism. We love to see Xiaomi bringing us good products at affordable prices, but at the same time, we also hope that Xiaomi should pay more attention to develop their own design language. However, I still want to remind you, the Mi Watch is less than half the price of its Apple counterpart.
The watch in my hand is a premium version. Compared to the standard version, the main difference is the surface protection. The Premium version is covered by Sapphire crystal glass rather than the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the standard one. The frame of the premium version is made with stainless steel while the material of the standard’s frame is Aluminum alloy. They both have a ceramic back. Thanks to such scratched protection, the Mi Watch hasn’t been scratched during my daily uses. The Mi Watch features a 1.78-inch AMOLED screen with a PPI of 326, which provides a pretty good viewing experience. Meanwhile, it also supports a feature of the always-on display, which will lead to shorter battery endurance.
A crown and a power button are arranged on its right side, and a microphone is placed between these two mechanisms. Combining with the touch screen, the operation experience is pretty good. Rotate the crown to scroll up or down the content; short press the crown to enter the application list or return to the previous layer; long-press the crown to wake up the voice assistant.
On the left edge, it features a single speaker, which allows you to play music or have a conversation without earphones. Inside the watch, Xiaomi equipped a Qualcomm snapdragon 3100 processor, which was based on Qualcomm’s 2013 snapdragon 400 mobile processor. So compared to the latest mobile phones, it’s not a surprising option. But we’ve seen it drive some other smartwatch running the Wear OS in 2019, like the watches from Fossil and Misfit. And it also gets 1GB ram and 8GB storage with a 570mAh battery. So, there is no need to worry about its performance on running these apps. But please, please forget gaming. You definitely won’t play games on a watch.
Well, I just mentioned Wear OS. The Xiaomi Watch layers MIUI For Watch on the interface of Wear OS. It’s the first watch to run a custom interface on Google’s smartwatch operating system. You can install over 40 apps from the Watch App store, including lighter versions of MIUI apps like Recorder, Notes, Mi home and a few third party’s popular apps like Sogo maps and so on. The app store now is accessible to third-party developers, so there should be more options for users in the near future. But pay attention here. The Mi watch now is mainly available in China. Most of the conversation apps you can install are from china. Because it’s more targeting in China market rather than in consideration of global users’ habits.
Another reason why Xiaomi defined the Mi watch as a small phone is wireless connectivity. The Mi Watch supports Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, and NFC connections, and meanwhile, the Snapdragon 3100 platform supports 4G e-sim connectivity, which in true allows you to take the watch as a small phone for standalone calls, music streaming and other basic functions. So when you want to enjoy outdoors for a while such as running, swimming or just having a cup of coffee, there is no need to carry on your phone but just make sure you wear the Wrist phone, the Mi Watch.
Thanks to the success of Mi band series, Xiaomi continues its typical features of fitness tracking. The Mi Watch can track 10 physical activities, including walking, running, swimming, climbing and other workout trackings. Besides, it also supports heart-rate monitoring. It enables users to track their heart-rate every 30mins or turn on real-time monitoring. But the real-time monitoring would cut down the battery endurance of the watch. As a result, I suggest to turn it on only when you are exercising.
A warm detail here is that when the battery is completely discharged, the Mi Watch will turn on the watch mode to display time only. And it just turns into a watch only. According to the official specifications, the watch can last for 36 hours. But in our test of daily use, it’s safe to say that it could last for the whole day when turning on some connectivity or functions like wifi, Bluetooth, always-on-display and real-time heart-rate monitoring.
Compared to a traditional watch, one of the greatest pleasures of a smartwatch is the switchable dial theme. The Mi Watch has a large number of dial themes for you. You can even replace the picture in the watch album as the background of the watch face, just like changing the wallpaper on your phone.
If you were a fan of the Xiaomi device and own a lot of Xiaomi smart home devices, the Mi Watch would be one of the Xiaomi products that you won’t miss. The Mi Watch can become a central processor to control all these devices. But the problem is that the Mi Home app has only supported Chinese language so far.
This content was originally published here.